Daily Archives: April 12, 2013

(WSJ) Chris Lamb: Jackie Robinson: Faith in Himself””and in God

As influential as [the] Rev. Downs had been, though, no one had a more profound impact on Robinson’s life than Branch Rickey, whose religious devotion was such that he didn’t attend baseball games on Sundays. During their first meeting, after Rickey had read aloud the passage from Papini’s “Life of Christ,” he also asked Robinson to read from the section about “nonresistance.” Robinson understood what was needed for him to succeed.

Nobody in sports had ever faced the sort of pressure, and abuse, that Jackie Robinson did when he took the field for the first time in a Brooklyn uniform on April 15, 1947. And yet Robinson didn’t merely endure, he thrived.

In a 1950 newspaper interview, he emphasized his faith in God and his nightly ritual of kneeling at bedside to pray. “It’s the best way to get closer to God,” Robinson said, and then the second baseman added with a smile, “and a hard-hit ground ball.”

Read it all (if needed another link go there).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Religion & Culture, Sports

(Washington Post) Americans spending larger share of annual income on homes

At the end of 2012, buyers bought homes that were three times their annual income, up from 2.6 times before the housing bubble.

The disparity is stark in high-priced areas such as San Jose, where home buyers are purchasing homes for seven times their yearly salary. Meanwhile, in Detroit, the purchase price is typically just 1.5 times a buyer’s salary.

Homes appear more affordable because low mortgage rates are painting a distorted picture of the market, said Stan Humphries, chief economist at Zillow.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

John Barr's Easter Sermon for 2013–But we had Thought…(on the Road to Emmaus, Luke 24:13-35)

Listen to it all (an MP3 file).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * South Carolina, Christology, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Easter, Eschatology, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(BBC) US warns N Korea missile launch would be 'huge mistake'

US Secretary of State John Kerry has said an anticipated missile launch by North Korea would be a “provocative act” and “huge mistake”.

The North has moved two missiles to its east coast and South Korea is on alert.

Speaking in Seoul, Mr Kerry reconfirmed the US’s commitment to protecting itself and its allies.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Asia, Defense, National Security, Military, Foreign Relations, Globalization, North Korea, Politics in General, Science & Technology

(NY Times Letter) Steven Giovangelo Chimes in on the Dominicans

(Please note the article to which this responds was posted here on the blog last week–KSH).

The ’60s secularizing and “modernizing” that orders went through, discarding habits, common prayer life and so on, were a strategic error for which many orders today have paid the price: drastically shrinking numbers and remaining members who are in their 70s and older.

But some traditional Dominican communities, male and female, are seeing a significant uptick in their applications from younger people. The same can be said for some branches of Franciscan friars and sisters. I don’t think that this is an accident.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Church History, Episcopal Church (TEC), History, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Secularism

(RNS) Jonathan Merritt–Is Francis the first Protestant Pope?

As late as the mid-20th Century, a marriage between an American Protestant and an American Catholic was considered inter-religious.

But the dynamic began to shift in the 1980s with the emergence of the Religious Right. Though the movement was spearheaded by evangelical leaders, they opened their arms to Catholics and even Mormons, who were seen as valuable allies in the fight against our nation’s “moral decline.” Animosity between the groups began giving way to cooperation. The election of Pope Francis may be the next step in bridging the divide between Catholics and Protestants. He has been called “a Pope for all Christians,” but could the growing popularity among non-Catholics make him “the first Protestant Pope?”

Francis has already met with Nikolaus Schneider, the head of the Council of the Evangelical Church in Germany. Dr. Schneider, who is ironically a Lutheran minister, said that Pope Benedict “offended” Protestants when he insisted in 2000 that Protestant communities were not “churches in the proper sense,” but he is hopeful for future Christian unity as a result of his meeting with Francis. This newfound common ground between the two groups, it seems, stems largely from the current Pope’s concern for the poor and marginalized….

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, History, Other Churches, Pope Francis, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

A Church Times Article on this week's C of E Marriage Report

An uncompromising document released this week reinforces the ban on public forms of blessing for those in same-sex relationships. It states that, although the introduction of same-sex marriage will not make heterosexual marriage “disappear”, it may make “the path to fulfilment, in marriage and in other relationships, more difficult to find”.

The report, Men and Women in Marriage, was published on Wednesday by the C of E’s Faith and Order Commission, with the agreement of the House of Bishops. It includes a foreword from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York which commends it “for study”. It was shown to journalists at Church House on Tuesday morning, where the Bishop of Coventry, Dr Christopher Cocksworth, who chairs the Commission and who wrote the report, answered questions about its contents.

The report seeks to set the disagreements between the Government and the Church of England over same-sex marriage, which it mentions only twice, “against a more positive background of how Christians have understood and valued marriage”. It quotes the Common Worship marriage service: “Marriage is a gift from God in creation.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology

Coptic Christian Leader in Egypt Criticizes Government Over Violence

The leader of the Coptic Orthodox Church accused President Mohamed Morsi’s government on Tuesday of “delinquency” and “misjudgments” for failing to prevent sectarian street-fighting that escalated into an attack on the church’s main cathedral after a funeral mass over the weekend, leaving at least six Christians dead.

“This is the first time the main Coptic Orthodox Cathedral has been attacked in Egypt’s history,” the church leader, Pope Tawadros II, said in a television interview, faulting Mr. Morsi’s government for failing to act fast enough to control the violence.

Direct criticism of the government by an Egyptian church leader was all but unheard-of under former President Hosni Mubarak, whose ouster two years ago ended the fear of reprisals from the authorities that had helped silence church officials and others. But the pope’s comments also highlighted the growing anxieties among Christian leaders about the subsequent rise to power of Mr. Morsi, a former leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, and his Islamist allies.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Coptic Church, Egypt, Middle East, Other Churches, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Violence

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O God, who for our sakes didst give up thy well-beloved Son to endure the shameful death of the cross, that we might be delivered from the power of the devil and be cleansed from all unrighteousness: Grant unto thy servants, we beseech thee, that through his passion the body of sin may be destroyed in us, and through the power of his resurrection we may henceforth walk in newness of life; for the merits of the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

–Liturgy of the Catholic Apostolic Church

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Easter, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Bible Readings

Nebuchadnez’zar said to them, “Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed’nego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the golden image which I have set up? Now if you are ready when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, to fall down and worship the image which I have made, well and good; but if you do not worship, you shall immediately be cast into a burning fiery furnace; and who is the god that will deliver you out of my hands?” Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed’nego answered the king, “O Nebuchadnez’zar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace; and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image which you have set up.”

–Daniel 3:14-18

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Medal of Honor for US Army chaplain Father Kapaun

An Army chaplain who saved the lives of fellow US soldiers before perishing in a North Korean prison camp has been awarded a posthumous US Medal of Honor.

On Thursday, President Obama presented the highest US military decoration to the nephew of Emil Kapaun, a Catholic priest who died in the Korean War.

Kapaun, an Army captain, was renowned for his bravery and caring.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Asia, Death / Burial / Funerals, Defense, National Security, Military, History, North Korea, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

Thursday Evening Mental Health Break–The World's Largest Miniature Railroad

This blew my mind–watch it all (in case of any trouble, there is another link there). Wow.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, * International News & Commentary, Europe, Germany, Science & Technology, Travel

Roger Landry– Pope Francis and the Reform of the Laity

The reform of the Church already evident in the words and witness of Pope Francis may be starting, but it won’t be stopping at the revamping of the Vatican Curia and the renewal of the clergy.

It also will involve a thorough reform of the laity, since some of the cancers the cardinals elected him to confront in Rome have metastasized throughout Christ’s mystical body.

In his conclave-changing address to the cardinals four days before his election, then-Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio identified what he believes is the Church’s fundamental illness: “ecclesiastical narcissism.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Church History, Ecclesiology, Evangelism and Church Growth, Globalization, Ministry of the Laity, Parish Ministry, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Theology

All Saints Church, Woodlands and Highfields, celebrates 100 years tomorrow

On Saturday 12th April 1913 +Cosmo, Archbishop of York, drove into the village of Woodlands in his “shiny new motor car”, to the amazement of the villagers, to attend the consecration of the new Church of All Saints. The new Church of St George in Highfields had been consecrated a few weeks earlier. 8½ years earlier there had been no Church. In fact there had been no shops, no school, no squares; no houses at all except Woodlands House (later to become the Park Club) and perhaps the Old Lodge. In just over 8 years a whole community had been born ”“ with one purpose. To house and provide for the men who won the coal at Brodsworth Pit and their families.

Congratulations to them–read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church History, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, History, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

A Tribute to Baroness Thatcher from the Bishop of Oxford

As others have said, she changed the face of Britain, opening up new avenues of possibility in all directions – share ownership, home ownership, the liberalisation of markets, entrepreneurial innovation and so on. She strengthened Britain’s role in the world with her clear policies on defence, the Falklands, Northern Ireland, Communism, Europe, South Africa and more. No-one was in any doubt that there was a force in the land.

I spent the last years of the 1980s in County Durham, so I know some of the deep divisions Lady Thatcher’s policies caused. Billy Elliot country was not an all-singing, all-dancing landscape. It’s almost impossible to find moderate opinions, for or against, on her style of leadership, but the one thing we can all acknowledge is that she was a leader of absolute integrity in terms of her own beliefs. She was an iconic ‘conviction politician.’

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Death / Burial / Funerals, England / UK, History, Parish Ministry, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

Bishop Mouneer Anis writes a letter today on the Egyptian Crisis

(Via email–KSH) 11 April 2013

My dear Friends,

Greetings in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ!

The situation in Cairo is very sad for us as a Christian community. On Friday 6 April 2013, sectarian clashes erupted once again, this time in El Khosus, in the outskirts of Cairo. The story, according to the director of the police, started by a 12-year old Muslim boy drawing graffiti on the wall of an Islamic school. Two Muslim men rebuked him for doing so, and a Christian man also came and rebuked him. This developed into a big argument and fighting between Christians and Muslims in the area. After the Friday prayers in the mosque, a group of Muslims came out and attacked the Coptic Orthodox church in the area. The result of this was the killing of four Christians and one Muslim, and many injured. Many stores were also vandalized and looted. The Grand Imam sent his assistant, together with a Coptic Orthodox bishop, in order to do a reconciliation. However, one hour after things calmed down, the fighting erupted again.
The next day there was a funeral at the Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Abassayia the center of Cairo for the Christians who died. Thousands of Christians attended the funeral. Amidst their mourning and grief they were shouting words against the government and against the Muslim Brotherhood. Because of this, as they exited the Cathedral and the church grounds, they were attacked by other Muslims. The police then interfered throwing tear gas. At least one person was killed with over 80 injured. This was the first time in history that the Coptic Orthodox Cathedral was attacked, especially during a time of mourning.

It is worth mentioning that in the last two years, since the beginning of the Revolution of 2011, the number of incidents of sectarian clashes has increased. No one who committed violence or killing has been brought to justice because the government is content to solve the sectarian clashes by reconciliatory meetings. In a statement I made, I urged the government to apply the rule of law as the only way to stop these sectarian clashes. I emphasized the importance of the reconciliatory meetings which we as an Anglican Church are facilitating at several levels. I also emphasized that they are not a substitute to the application of the law. Unfortunately the current government is inexperienced and is not doing enough to include the different political parties in building up Egypt after the Revolution.This contributed to the instability of the Egyptian society, the decrease of tourism, and the bad economic situation.

The Christian community in Egypt right now is mourning and feels challenged in their own country, as some of them have said, “we have been here since the time of the Pharaohs, this is our country! We will not leave whatever happens. ” On the other hand, there are many educated young people who are immigrating out of the country and this is the saddest thing for me as one of the leaders of the church in Egypt, because I believe that the Christian presences is very much liked with the Christian witness.

May the Lord bless you!

–(The Most Rev.) Dr. Mouneer Hanna Anis is Bishop of the Episcopal / Anglican Diocese of Egypt with North Africa and the Horn of Africa and President Bishop of the Episcopal / AnglicanProvince of Jerusalem and the Middle East

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Egypt, Middle East, Religion & Culture, The Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East, Violence

Trevin Wax–Can We Be Humble and Orthodox? A Conversation with Josh Harris

Why do so many guys with good doctrine have bad attitudes?

Can you be biblically orthodox and firm in your faith without being brittle or hard-hearted?

Can we be humble and orthodox?

My friend, Josh Harris, thinks so. His book Humble Orthodoxy: Holding the Truth High Without Putting People Down (Multnomah, 2013) is short and to the point, and it’s a point we need to be reminded of. I asked Josh to join me on the blog for a conversation about the importance of holding to the right beliefs the right way.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths), Theology, Theology: Scripture

(NY Times) A Poet's Nightmare in Chinese Prison

Liao Yiwu was a reluctant dissident.

A Chinese poet and storyteller nourished on Beat generation literature, he picked fights, drank to excess and despised politics.

“I have never taken an interest in mass movements or foreign imports such as democracy, freedom, human rights and love,” he declared as the student pro-democracy movement unfolded in Beijing in 1989. “If destruction is inevitable, let it be.”

Then came the Tiananmen crackdown. Mr. Liao was transformed….

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Books, China, Poetry & Literature